This race is the perfect thing to cool off my cross fever. I hadn't raced in 5 weeks (FIVE! WEEKS!) and just like everyone else I was on the verge of melting due to the excitement of 'cross season. So let's drive 3.5 hours to race a grass hillclimb! Bike racing, guys!
Thus ends my commentary on the Day 1 course. Shut up and pedal, Colin! Er, blog. Like you do.
My greatest failure was leaving the SD card for my GoPro at home, but bringing the rest of the camera. They told us we had 60 seconds to start, I turned the camera on, and it was like... beep beep beep you're an idiot. So if you were hoping for sick 'cross vids, it's gonna be another week. Although watching some footage from last year might do in a pinch.
The reason I hadn't raced for a month is because I was frolicking around the western half of the country with Christin. As you might know, the western half of this country is at "elevation" and thus I had actually been "doping" while I was out there. My only hope was that the surplus of red blood cells in my body would make up for the utter lack of intensity training I had been doing while everyone else was getting an erroneous DNF at Quad cross.
ANYWAY, eventually we had to race bikes, and even though Day 1 wasn't a UCI race all the fast-but-not-pro guys were there and I was scared. We took off up the frustratingly-long-hill to start the race and everything was cool right until we had to turn a tiny bit -- then everyone bunched up on the inside, Donny Green went into the groove in the middle of the course, and then Donny Green exploded. This was not good for Donny or anyone behind him, but since I was next to him... I was totally ok with that. Because there are no friends when you have a number on.
That is all I remember from lap one. I just rode around telling myself not to freak out and go super-anaerobic, which is actually pretty tough on lap one of a cross race. All in all I thought it went pretty well, in that I didn't want to drop out at the end of lap one.
Instead, I latched onto the back of a HEFTY group 'o dudes being lead by one Wayne Bray. Do you remember Wayne Bray? Because I sure talk about him a lot around here. Good news, guys, this year he has even more watts than last year and I got to ride in his group on a course with lots of climbing! It was so fun*!
The hefty group had nine or so guys and there was lots of drafting, so I was pretty sheltered from the LUDICROUS SPEED when we weren't climbing. Of course, on the 50% of the course that was uphill, I was getting punched in the face (along with everyone else in the group, I think) by Wayne's quads. It didn't take long before I realized that I was not going to be able to do this for another [ungodly number on the lap cards] laps.
Luckily there were also a bunch of U23s in DA GROUP and they also were having trouble taking a punch right to their just-out-of-high-school faces. Two Canadian kids (WELCOME TO AMERICA!!) and Jeff Bahnson (PAYBACK FOR WHEN YOU BEAT ME WHEN YOU WERE 15!!) were the first to fall off the back.
Of course since I was riding on the back like an idiot/softie, I got to chase back on when les enfants suddenly quit holding the wheel in front of them. Which I deserved. "Chasing back on" mainly happened on the downhills, since "riding as hard as I can just to not lose ground to Wayne" was happening on the uphills.
Now, if you're chasing on the downhills and chasing on the uphills, where are you resting? NOWHERE. And how does Colin do when he can't rest? BADLY. Eventually Evan Huff came off, taking me with him, and my legs were a-ok with that.
So then I rode around with Evan (who works at BikeReg with me!) and by "with" I mean "behind." I took a dollar prime and told him about it, which was pretty good psychological warfare if I do say so myself. He got angry and attacked me, but no one attacks me successfully on the downhill! So I clung like a barnacle. As usual. Welcome to cross season race reports.
Finally we got the bell and lil' Jesse Keough** and Sweens were actually quite close ahead of Evan and me. I figured after 3 laps of looking at Evan's butt I would make myself useful and take a pull (ON THE CLIMB, EVEN!). As soon as I was in front of Evan, he overlapped wheels with me in the groove and then crashed, because apparently I don't pull hard enough on climbs. This further soured him on riding with me, and he will probably not be getting me free coffee at work anytime soon.
But, but, there was real live KEOUGH in front of me and one should never take the opportunity to race a KEOUGH lightly. Sweens realized that I was coming for Jesse with all the old-man-wattage I could muster and wisely fled the scene.
I caught Jesse on the downhill before the barriers before the finish, and attacked him right after the barriers, because you don't go to the line with a Keough even if you fancy yourself a good sprinter, like I do. Fortunately he didn't respond, because about 5 seconds after my attack (and 30 seconds before the finish line) I was like "wow, this is ENTIRELY UNSUSTAINABLE." So I slowed down and held the gap for 16th overall.
I regret to note that this still put me 7 seconds behind my #1 frenemy Kevin. Which stinks.
But hey, cross is back!
*fun not valid in Alaska or Hawaii
**not actually that little anymore
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